Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pacific Crest Trail 2009 ~ Part 20

With Mount Shasta in sight and with the cool temperatures of the early morning hours, we followed our course towards Burney Falls State Park.

Massive lava flows spanned the entire valley floor.

The refuge of Baum Lake cooled the touch of the red skin as Stacey swam with the White Pelicans. 

Burney Falls was a natural wonder in that a quarter mile up stream there was absolutely no water in the creek bed.  If you look closely at the water fall, at least a quarter of the water being released from the earth is springing out directly from the sedimentary layers.  All the water that you see comes from an underground river that makes its way to the surface in this region.  It dumps 200 million gallons of water a day, which amazingly includes California's dry summer months.

We took a full days rest in the town of Burney which coincided with Stacey's Birthday.  A nice couple who knew the unique look of us vagabonds on a mission went out of their way to take us back up to Burney Falls.

We crossed over Lake Brittons's Dam which we were later told had fires raging along its shores.

"By the Book", above, shows off the PCT Hiker tan.   With temperatures broiling, Rock Creek became a hiker haven with over 8 of us taking the plunge.

With our largest convey yet, we hiked together till nightfall where a friendly fire bonded us all together.

Mount Shasta became luminous and accented by flowers such as Fireweed.

Open views like this were actually not too common, since most of the mileage in this section was witnessed in the depths of the dense forests. 

It seemed as if people were hiking more together in this section as a larger group to sustain and uplift the collective energy.  The heat was taking a lot out of the average thru hiker.  This area was a burn out zone for some.  Injuries were beginning to flare up.  Many seemed to be getting deep blisters, especially around the heals of their souls, and the skin of our feet was already very heavily calloused. After having spent, day in and day out, feeding on scenic views such as these, one had to often pay more attention to their inner worlds of unprocessed thoughts and feelings while in the forest canopies.  Therefore, people began to wind down physically, and wind up emotionally or mentally.   Many occupied themselves with the stimulus of other hikers to avoid draining their personal batteries. 

At this point along the Pacific Crest Trail I had already lost 20 pounds, whereas Stacey lost around 12 pounds.  I started the trail at 156 pounds and was currently at 136 pounds in this region.  If you added the weight of my pack, I was still carrying a collective weight of 156 to 160 lbs.  My intention was not to lose any weight for the length of the trail.  The interesting part is that I gained the twenty pounds back in Oregon and Washington, and finished the trail at the exact same weight of 156 lbs.  Overall, Oregon and Washington was a lot cooler, and the walking was less strenuous without the extreme ups and downs that California offered so much of.

This section ended with resupplying at Castle Crags State Park in Castella along the I-5 corridor.  We re-fueled :) at this gas station, and next door there was a post office for those who sent packages ahead.  However, a good handful of the hiking crew hitched either into Dunsmuir or Shasta City north of this climbing meca to rejuvenate their spirits.


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